TONS OF ROCK 2016 – Dag 2 – Halden

TONS OF ROCK 2016 – Dag 2 – Halden

After a long and rather wet Friday at the fortress in Halden, it was nice to wake up to blue skies and warmer weather, and to have to pack the sunglasses and sunblocker and take it easy in the morning. So easy that I missed the opening acts and arrived in good time to watch some experimental madness made in Bergen and known by the name of Krakow. I’ve seen some of their shows before and even if it’s not a band with countless albums in their discography, every live performance seems like they just composed some new music. Which is what makes their shows so exciting, besides the vibe of insanity delivered by mainman Frofe Kilvik on bass and the rest of the crew. For this show, they had to cut down one of the guitars and replace it with keyboards, very well mastered by Håkon Vinje of Seven Impale. I actually really loved how it all fit it with the keyboard sound. I thought it would lead to a weaker show than usual, but it was quite the opposite. It lifted the intensity even more and left no doubt that Krakow folks are brilliant at experimenting, even with their own tunes and can leave you mouth wide opened after the performance.

EL CACO live @ TONS OF ROCK 2016
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

El Caco was the first band I managed on the first stage. I didn’t stay for the whole set though, cause it was somehow dull to watch the rather static concert. But if I had closed my eyes, I must admit that the 3 musicians have found a nice way of punching those guitar riffs in your face and give you a good dose of rock and some roll on top of it. Plus, they seem rather loved by the crowd, since, afterall, they are a band with some good years of history (18 or more) and that’s what matters the most for the festival attendees.

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(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

After a rather long break, I returned to the main stage to watch Converge, another band with many years of history and who offered a lot of inspiration to artists with hardcode or punk genres. Jacob Bannon seems to never have enough stage as he’s constantly moving from one corner to another, stopping occasionally to sing/scream a more demaning part and then leaving on to the opposite side. And while it’s always an honor to see legends in action, I must admit I kept thinking of their performance from few months ago at Roadburn, in Netherlands, where they performed the Blood Moon ceremony together with Chelsea Wolfe…oh how heavenly that was. And since that was also my frist Converge live experience, despite the fact that this is by no means their main stage show, I will always expect to see that on stage. It was so surreal that no matter how good a usual Converge show is, it will never beat that one.

Listening to the reommendation of some friends I went up to the little Huth stage to have a look at Lucky Malice. A Halden loal 3 girls band, calling themselves a power trio emerging as one of the trendsetting bands of feminist punk rock in Norway. They sure delivered a very poweful set, but it also had some girly finesse in it, so it ended up being a sweet combo afterall. Onesong was performed together with a male guest btu I cannot say exactly who he was. I really enjoyed the grils’ attitude and dedication, I amused myself at their simple and funny backdrop and I enjoyed watching the gathered crowd cheering and showing all the needed support. It is always nice to see young and upcoming bands encoureaged at festivals.

SIXX A.M. live @ TONS OF ROCK 2016
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

SIXX:AM was the next band on the main stage and I think I left even before the three songs during which we were allowed to take photos. Certainly not my cup of tea so I do not have anything to write about this performance. Black Debbath on the other hand…well, the tent stage was simply packed. It was impossible to breathe or move way before the comedians/musicians entered the stage. And what an entrance…they have switched to like very very short shorts and vests and…nothing else. So they actually enter doing some sort of catwalk walk, waving their hips and displaying their sexiness from various angles. The usual smoke machine in the shape of motorcycle front microphone stand wasn’t missing, obscuring some of the sexiness from certain angles. As usual, people sang along to each and every song and burst into laughter at most of the jokes and dialogues (I wished I’d be way more advanced in Norwegian to actually get all of them). Black Debbath never disappoints live, and they’re surely not a band for someone who takes life and various matters too seriously.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

After the reprise of good laughter accompanied by academical stoner rock, it was time for serious theater on the name stage, led by mr Vince Furnier and better known by the name of Alice Cooper. It was pretty much the same show I saw last year in Oslo or in Finland, but it is such a good show that there’s no way I can get bored of it. The guillotine act, the Frankenstein, soap bubble and balloons at the end, it’s hard to have enough of them. Not to mention the foxy lady Nita Strauss who is constantly in the spotlight and who has everyone in the audience at her feet. Since there’s so many hits in Alice Cooper’s discography, the crowd rarely has time to realize that they are playing less popular songs too, since they are well fit in with the main playlist. And It was quite nice to hear some of the other tunes too. And to scream out of my lungs that School’s out forever.

MGLA live @ TONS OF ROCK 2016
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

One more trip to the little stage up the hill to watch the Mgla as I’ve always managed to miss the chance before. It was perfect to have them scheduled so late at night, as outside darkness matched well with their nihilistic stage approach where everyone in the band covers their head with black and then the rest of the body with even more black clothes. So you basically see no inch of skin. There’s no other element for the visual show, no spikes, paint, not even movement. Thing which I’d usually consider dull, but given the maniac music and the fact that they play so loud that you start feeling each internal organ, makes you forget that nothing really happens on stage. I felt sorry for the guard who had to spend the whole concert in the photopit, and I noticed that some of the people left from the first rows after few songs. It was really really loud.

GHOST live @ TONS OF ROCK 2016
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Back to the main stage for another faceless band, but this time with a full-package show – Ghost. I didn’t like them much before, but this evening they had something extra which made them enjoyable. I don’t really know the story of their Papas, if they change the person or the name only, but I believe his performance and overall behavior on stage was much more pleasant and energic than the previous times I saw them. So I found myself dancing and cheering both at the songs I previously heard and the newer ones. I’m still not a fan of their dance-pop-rock like tunes, but I won’t avoid their shows in the future.